By Mohamed Handour
By Mohamed Handour
Morocco World News
Beni Mellal, Morocco, August 6, 2012
This year Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, coincided with the excessive heat of summer. Still, Muslims in all parts of the country are strongly armed with patience to fulfill this religious obligation in a serious attempt to get closer to God. They have to bear tormenting thirst and remain without food from daybreak to sunset to obey their Creator.
Those with salaried jobs–especially those on holiday– experience less difficulty because they are either away from home in a seaside town or city or taking shelter from the scorching sun in their homes. Conversely, unskilled workers and wage earners suffer more, though they never complain for fear of blaspheme. These workers have to spend all the day or the bulk of it in the sweltering temperatures. After the afternoon prayer, those who can walk, cycle or drive to the nearest town to shop for breakfast that takes place at sunset soon after the voice of the muezzin is heard. In this hot weather, people are mainly attracted to liquids such as milk and juice. Also Harrira, or Moroccan soup, is ever present on Moroccans’ breakfast table.
After breakfast, Muslims take a rest before they make their way to the mosque for worship. Inside the mosque, you can see well-dressed people of different ages waiting for the Imam to enter to prostrate themselves in full serenity and peace of mind. Even those who have never knelt before take the opportunity of Ramadan to establish communion with the Almighty. Some of these are branded as ‘worshippers of Harrira’ since their seemingly serious acts of worship come to a halt immediately after the holy month to relax and get immersed in their worldly affairs until the next month. This is probably why our mosques are overcrowded during Ramadan.
The categories referred to above, the skilled and unskilled workers are fortunate enough to have some coins in their pockets as they go out in quest of a delicacy with which to break the Ramadan fast together with their children. This is not the case, unfortunately, for the overwhelming majority. This includes the unemployed population on the outskirts, those who are destined to live in distant mountainous areas, those who are trapped in the world of misery, despair and isolation and those who need a helicopter to transport a woman on the brink of childbirth to the nearest delivery ward.
These are also Moroccan Muslims who have to fast for several months or several years on end. These are the wretched of the earth whose life is a daily struggle for survival. You can find them everywhere, but they cluster in tiny souks where almost nothing is sold because nobody has the necessary means to buy it. They meet there once a week in spite of themselves, to greet each other and ask for whom the bell has recently tolled. To these also, let us wish: Happy Ramadan,” not once a year but on a daily basis.
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